The second year of Operation Inherent Resolve opened with a bang — literally.
Once Turkey gave the U.S. permission in late July to use its air bases for combat missions against the Islamic State group, the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe managed — in the words of a top commander in the fight — to pull a “complete rabbit-out-of-the-hat lift.”
On Aug. 9, six F-16s from Aviano deployed to Incirlik Air Base. On Aug. 12, the F-16s flew their first combat missions against the Islamic State group.
“The 510th Fighter Squadron got a phone call and said, ‘We need six fighters, an entire maintenance package.’ And the logistics [airmen] and maintainers went from zero, packed up, got onboard KC-10s, loaded the planes and took off in a matter of days, landed at Incirlik, reconfigured and were ready to go in a few days,” Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten, deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, told Air Force Times. “[That] is a tribute to the airmen, the logisticians, the pilots, the maintainers and everybody at Aviano Air Base that brought that tremendous capability to bear.”